Examples of How Foundations Are Using Mission-Related Investments
With equity and justice top of mind, many foundations and investors are reimagining how to leverage their financial resources. There are a variety of ways to deploy capital and a myriad of urgent issues to address, but one point remains clear: All foundations are capable of aligning their assets with impact and the time to do it is now.
The curated list of foundation case studies and tools represents a collection of documented materials currently available. Although each foundation’s journey will look different based on its endowment size, resources, and goals, the materials below offer inspiration and guidance for your own experience, no matter what stage of the MRI journey you’re at.
To explore other MRI-related resources, visit the Endowment Investing library here. This page is an evolving set of resources; if you have questions or have recommendations for additional materials, please email Laila Hussain.
Heron Foundation leverages its endowment to meet urgent needs. This case study highlights Heron’s path, from its initial assessment of its endowment’s impact to re-envisioning its investment policy, and restructuring the investment and grantmaking teams.
In 2017, the Ford Foundation announced a commitment of up to $1 billion over 10 years to MRIs. View the webinar recording to explore how Ford engaged its trustees and revised its investment strategy to achieve both social impact and financial returns through MRIs, along with a two-part case study outlining the progress and evolution of the Foundation’s Mission Investments program.
Nathan Cummings: Using Private Equity and Other Capital Sources to Align a $450 Million Endowment with Mission
The toolkit offers a framework and four-pillar approach to making the case for MRIs. The insights are meant to be adapted and tailored to each institution and its journey.
Rockefeller Brothers Fund: Activating Global Equities to Divest From Fossil Fuels and Support Clean Energy
This case study and the related materials highlight how Rockefeller Brothers Fund — an institution founded by oil wealth — became active shareowners, shifted a large percentage of its endowment to MRIs, and overcame resistance from its investment committee to transition its endowment from oil to clean energy.
Silicon Valley Community Foundation advances women- and minority-owned asset managers in alignment with its values and fiduciary duty to diversify and prudently manage investments. The brief case study walks through how Silicon Valley Community Foundation began evaluating and changing who was managing its assets, in partnership with Colonial Consulting, in their commitment to greater diversity and racial equity.
Sorenson Impact Foundation: Employing a Mix of Global Equities and Private Investments to Close Access Gaps for Under-Resourced Communities
In early 2017, Sorenson Foundation decided to leverage the Foundation’s balance sheet to support its mission and impact alongside its programmatic resources. This case study summarizes Sorenson’s journey shifting its endowment to be mission-aligned and support companies that are improving equity for people of color and women, enhancing clean energy solutions, and creating affordable housing.
The Russell Family Foundation (TRFF): How a Once Small Family Foundation Leveraged a Mix of Equities, Fixed Income, and Other Capital Sources to Transition Its Portfolio ~90% Mission-Related Investments
The case study highlights TRFF’s approach to MRIs, outlining its comprehensive journey from a small pilot and series of simulations, to establishing a Mission Investment Committee, and revising its investment policy.
Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation: Advancing Racial Equity by Funding Diverse Asset Owners and Managers
Winthrop Rockefeller challenged the status quo by pushing its board and leveraging a range of asset classes to advance racial equity. This presentation details how Winthrop structured a $1.5 million MRI in Impact America Fund II to address structural racial inequities.
W.K. Kellogg Foundation has activated its endowment using a variety of asset classes to advance racial equity. This report offers an investment framework that enables all types of mission-oriented investors to better weigh alternative opportunities for impact and equity in the marketplace.